How To Select The Best Firearms To Use For Different Disaster Scenarios 

11 Best Firearms for 5 Disaster Scenarios 

Firearms will be pivotal in helping you stay alive during a future serious disaster scenario. Besides their use in hunting to help put food on the table, they will also be among the most effective weapons for defending yourself and your family against burglars, raiders, looters, and marauders.

As we’ll soon see, different disasters will create situations where certain types of guns will be a better choice than others. That’s why you’ll need to be extremely selective about the specific types of guns you choose to use depending on the disaster that’s occurring.

And if you have a lot of guns already, you likely won’t be able to bring all of your guns with you. For example, if you have to bug out of town on foot, you may only be able to bring one or two guns with you. 

In the following article, we’ll discuss how to choose the most effective and practical firearms for the worst kinds of disaster scenarios.

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Bug Out to the Woods

Bug Out to the Woods

The Scenario 

The “bugging out to the woods” scenario is almost exactly as it sounds. It’s when a major disaster strikes your local town or city that forces you to evacuate from your home, and you opt to bug out (either by yourself or with others) out into the woods to get away from the chaotic urban areas.  

This may or may not be the wisest move depending on the circumstances, but regardless, it’s a possibility. In a major grid down disaster, for instance, there will undoubtedly be many people who will opt to bug out into the forests under the assumption that they can forge a new life (whether temporary or long term) away from crowds in towns and cities. 

So let’s say that you opt to do exactly that and decide to bug out in your vehicle into the woods with your family and some close friends, where you’ll pitch a tent, cook food over a campfire, and try to live off the land. What will be the best guns to have with you in this scenario? 

What Guns Should You Have?

The first gun you’ll want to have in this scenario is a good handgun.

A pistol or a revolver is arguably the most important firearm to have in any kind of an SHTF or disaster situation because you can carry it with you wherever you go, so you are never truly unarmed. 

If you’re bugging out into the woods, you’ll want to carry a handgun that is powerful enough to stop aggressive animals if necessary (such as bears, wolves, or wild boar). 

A 10mm semi-automatic pistol would be a good choice here because it offers superior ballistics to a smaller caliber like 9mm, while also having a generous magazine capacity that would make it suitable for tactical use. 

The next gun you’ll want to have in this scenario is a rifle that can serve as a hunting rifle. Regardless of its type (semi-automatic, bolt action, lever action, or pump action), it should fire a large enough caliber to drop big game animals that inhabit the area.

Besides hunting, you can also use your rifle to engage hostile targets at long distances. If you ever find yourself in a gun battle with hostiles in the woods, chances are good it will be at longer ranges than in a city or urban zone. 

The next gun you’ll want is a shotgun, which you can use for bird or waterfowl hunting. When loaded with buckshot or solid projectiles like slugs, your shotgun can serve as a valuable self-defense weapon, whether against people or more aggressive animals. 

The last gun that will be good to have in this scenario is a good .22 rifle.

Arguably the most underestimated caliber, a .22 rifle will prove its worth to you in a bugging out-to-the-woods scenario. It will be the best caliber to use for small game hunting, and if you bring enough ammunition, it will also be a great choice for practice shooting.

Economic Collapse 

Economic Collapse 

The Scenario

A complete economic collapse would be felt globally, resulting in millions of people losing their jobs, declaring bankruptcy, and foreclosing on their homes. A true economic collapse of this nature would be long-lasting and result in widespread panic worldwide. Mass rioting in the streets and looting in the stores would take place.

In the worst-case scenario, cash will become nearly useless due to hyperinfiltration, resulting in people bartering and trading goods and services as the new currency.

Once things stabilize in this scenario, we would enter a new reality where goods are exchanged for other goods rather than money being exchanged for goods, at least for a while. Jobs will be offered in exchange for food and a place to sleep rather than a salary, and the cases of violent crimes will rise out of desperation throughout the population. 

What Guns Should You Have?

In an economic disaster on the scale of the Great Depression or worse, you’ll always be on our guard.

Again, a handgun is arguably the most important firearm to have because you’ll be able to have it with you wherever you go. In an economic collapse, you’ll never know if someone else on the street will attempt to attack or rob you. That’s why it will be very important to conceal carry a handgun wherever you go. 

Another important firearm to have in this situation will be something that’s dedicated for home defense.

Since the number of home invasions will surely increase following an economic collapse, you’ll need to be extra alert and ensure that you are always prepared to resist an attempted burglary. A semi-automatic rifle or a shotgun will be the best choice for home defense, with your handgun serving as a backup. 

War/Enemy Invasion 

WarEnemy Invasion 


In this scenario, a hostile country launches a full-scale invasion of your country. Besides armed conflict erupting between the rivaling military forces, this would result in widespread displacement of citizens living in or near the battlefield zones, a massive refugee crisis, and citizens joining the battle against the attackers. 

In the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, for example, there were countless reports of Ukrainian citizens taking up arms to help fight back against the invading forces.

Several of these citizens were armed with nothing more than pump-action shotguns or bolt action rifles that they already owned, while the local military forces issued others automatic AK-pattern rifles. 

What Guns Should You Have?

Regardless of whether you choose to join a local militia to fight back against the enemy or focus solely on protecting your family, a war or enemy invasion scenario will require you to get a bit more tactical with your firearms choices. 

The first firearm you’ll want in this scenario is a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable box magazine, such as an AR-15, AK-47, AUG, or Mini-14. This will be the most effective firearm for engaging with hostile forces (if the situation calls for it), as they will almost certainly be armed with automatic rifles as well. 

Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure you carry a semi-automatic pistol with you at all times. Look for a full-size duty pistol with a large magazine capacity. 

Grid Down Disaster

Grid Down Disaster


A massive solar flare from the sun or an electromagnetic pulse attack detonated high enough in the atmosphere (either by a hostile nation or terrorist forces) causes a wide scale and long term blackout all across your country.

This will be one of the most devastating disasters that could occur, because our entire society functions on power. In the event of an EMP attack or solar flare, the power grid would collapse and electronic devices would cease to work. In the worst case scenario, the power would go out, the water would quit running, internet and cell service would drop, electronic devices like phones and laptops would be knocked out, and most vehicles would cease working as well. 

It’s not hard to see how this would play out. It would be almost impossible to get in touch with friends and family over long distances (unless you have an alternative communication source), The economy would collapse as people would be unable to access online banking, and mass rioting and looting would result. 

What Guns Should You Have?

As with the other scenarios, the most important firearm to have in a grid down scenario would be a pistol that you can always carry with you. 

You’ll also want to have guns at the ready that are dedicated for home defense. In an EMP attack, without a working vehicle, bugging in at your home is likely to be the safer option than attempting to bug out to (unless you have a dedicated bug out location that you can easily get to). 

A semi-automatic rifle would be the best choice for this role, because it would be a more effective choice than a shotgun for defending your home against multiple attackers (which would happen since marauders and raiding party would be sure to form in the days and weeks following the EMP detonation). 

Natural Disaster 

Natural Disaster 


There are actually multiple scenarios that could happen here, depending on where you live. Hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes, sandstorms, flooding, and massive fires all count as natural disasters.

The one consistency that will occur (regardless of which of the above natural disasters were to strike your area) is the necessity of bugging out. Regardless of whether you’re forced to bug out by vehicle or on foot, you’ll find yourself likely one of thousands of other people on the move trying to get out of dodge as well. The bug out process may be slow, especially if the only roads leading out become clogged with traffic, and you’ll be vulnerable to attack from raiding parties. 

What Guns Should You Have?

No surprise here, but a handgun will be the best firearm to bring with you in this scenario.

Suppose you find yourself bugging out on foot to evade the natural disaster. In that case, a handgun may be the only gun you can have on you since it may not be possible to bring a rifle or a shotgun with you since you’ll likely be carrying a backpack and other heavy supplies as well.

That’s also not to mention that carrying a rifle or a shotgun out in the open would help paint you as a target, whether that’s by law enforcement or military forces in the area or by other civilians. A pistol can be carried concealed and kept hidden from anyone else in your proximity. 



If there are any key takeaways here, it’s that a handgun will almost universally be the most convenient firearm to have with you in the event of nearly any major disaster.

…But rifles and shotguns (of varying types) will certainly prove their value to you as well. 


What is the Best Weapon in a Survival Situation?

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What are Those Types of Firearms Designed or Intended to be Fired Using One Hand?

Handguns are firearms specifically designed to be operated with one hand. These compact weapons, including pistols and revolvers, offer ease of handling and maneuverability. Known for their self-defense and close-quarters combat applications, handguns are essential in various law enforcement, military, and civilian contexts.

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